|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
|Directed by||Peter Watkins|
|Produced by||John Heyman|
|Written by||Norman Bogner|
|Music by||Mike Leander|
|Edited by||John Trumper|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Privilege is a British film directed by Peter Watkins. It was released in 1967 being produced by John Heyman. Johnny Speight wrote the story, and Norman Bogner wrote the script. Some of it was filmed on location in Birmingham, England, partly at Birmingham City F.C.'s St Andrew's stadium and at Birmingham Town Hall.
The story is set in the then near-future of the 1970s and concerns a disillusioned pop singer, played by Paul Jones, who is manipulated by the church and state which seek to turn him into a messianic leader.
The film was greatly influenced by the award-winning 1962 Wolf Koenig/Roman Kroitor National Film Board of Canada documentary Lonely Boy, which in cinema verité style follows the growing hysteria surrounding then teen idol Paul Anka, with some scenes (notably that showing Steven Shorter at a table with a venue owner named “Uncle Julie” in both) being almost one-to-one reproductions of the earlier work. However, Lonely Boy has a different theme, that of a popular singer being merchandised by the music industry. The director of Privilege, Peter Watkins, had made a study of this earlier documentary film to prepare himself for filming Privilege. A DVD release of Privilege included Lonely Boy as well as an excerpt of an essay on that film as extra features. Additionally, Watkins believes that a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was taken from Privilege.
- Paul Jones as Steven Shorter
- Jean Shrimpton as Vanessa Ritchie
- Mark London as Alvin Kirsch
- William Job as Andrew Butler
- Max Bacon as Julie Jordan
- Jeremy Child as Martin Crossley
- James Cossins as Professor Tatham
- Frederick Danner as Marcus Hooper
- Victor Henry as Freddie K
- Arthur Pentelow as Leo Stanley
- Steve Kirby as Squit
- Malcolm Rogers as the Reverend Jeremy Tate
- Doreen Mantle as Miss Crawford
- Michael Graham as Timothy Arbutt
- Michael Barrington as the Bishop of Essex
Note: Gary Glitter auditioned for the lead role that eventually went to Paul Jones. Glitter's career later took off in collaboration with Mike Leander, responsible for the film's music.
The film featured Jones' 1967 number five hit record "I've Been a Bad, Bad Boy" and a soundtrack album was released in the US and UK the same year. In 1978 the Patti Smith Group recorded one of the film's songs, "Set Me Free" (as "Privilege (Set Me Free)") on their album Easter. The recording reached number 72 on the UK singles chart and number 13 on the singles chart in Ireland.
Home video release
Privilege was released on DVD in the UK on the BFI's Flipside imprint. The disc included two of Peter Watkins's short films: The Forgotten Faces (1961) and The Diary of an Unknown Soldier (1959), as well as the original Privilege trailer. A Blu-ray Disc version has also been released after problems due to "an issue with materials" were resolved.
- Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p345
- http://offscreen.com/view/lonely_boy, accessed 7/2/2015
- [http://www.atthecinema.net/hidden-gem-privilege At The Cinema
- DVD Verdict
- Peter Watkins, Part 2, Films, Privilege. http://pwatkins.mnsi.net/PW_Privilege.htm
- "BFI Flipside in January". Home Cinema @ The Digital Fix. Dvdtimes.co.uk. 2010-01-25. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
- Notes on Privilege from Peter Watkin's website
- Privilege at the Internet Movie Database
- Article in Bright Lights Film Journal
- Feature at Britmovie